Exodus 4:2 NIV

Know your calling (1)

Exodus 4:2 NIV

When God called Moses, one of the first questions He asked him was: “What is that in your hand?” Moses was holding his shepherd’s staff – the one he used each day to lead and protect his sheep. But God had a different plan for it – a greater one! He used it to part the Red Sea and lead Israel into the Promised Land. When God asks you, “What is that in your hand?” He wants you to think about your talents, experiences, relationships, education, resources, your mind and your temperament. Dr. Martin Seligman talks about our “signature strengths.” They fall into six categories: (1) Wisdom and knowledge. These in clude things like curiosity, love of learning, sound judgment, and social intelligence. (2) Courage. This includes perseverance and integrity. (3) Humanity. The capacity for kindness, and the ability to express mercy. (4) Justice. The ability to bring about fairness and leadership. (5) Temperance. Qualities like self-control, prudence, and humility. (6) Transcendence. An appreciation for beauty, the expression of gratitude, the ability to hope, and the capacity for joy. We all have the capacity for each of these strengths, but the ones that resonate most deeply within you are your “signature strengths.” Once you identify these you begin to understand your calling. But be careful; the Enemy wants to convince you that God can’t use you because of your weaknesses, when in fact the opposite is true. Who can speak to those who are grieving better than those who’ve suffered loss? Chuck Colson was the chief White House lawyer until Watergate. But only when he became a convict was he equipp ed to begin his ministry, Prison Fellowship. So, know your calling.

Soul food: 2 Cor 1-4; Mat 19:15-30; Ps 144:1-8; Prov 16:1-3

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Philippians 2:5 NLT

Having the right attitude

Philippians 2:5 NLT

How many jobs do people lose every day because of poor attitudes? How many are passed over for promotion because of the way they approach their work and the people around them? How many marriages fall apart? It would be impossible to calculate. No one should ever lose a job, miss a promotion, or destroy a marriage because of a poor attitude. Why? Because a person’s attitude isn’t set; it’s a choice. Chuck Swindoll writes: “Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It’s more important t han appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I’m convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you…We are in charge of our attitudes.” Paul writes, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” He always approached people with love, grace, acceptance, and a heart to serve rather than be served. So if your attitude hasn’t been as good as it could be, make this your starting point. Pray: “Father, give me a Christlike attitude toward everyone I meet.”

Soul food: Ezek 46-48; Mat 19:1-14; Ps 139:13-24; Prov 15:31-33

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Nahum 1:7 NIV

Trust in God’s goodness

Nahum 1:7 NIV

The Bible says, “When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come…down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. ‘Come on,’ they said, ‘make us…gods who can lead us” (Exodus 32:1 NLT). Why did Israel make a golden calf? Because they wanted a god you can see. It’s harder to relate to an invisible God, and Moses, His representative, stayed on Mount Sinai so long they felt helpless and abandoned. So they did what we do when we’re scared – resort to the comfort of the familiar. Mark D. Roberts writes: “How often do we find ourselves in a situation like the Israelites? We hear God’s call to somethin g new, and boldly step out in faith. But when we don’t sense His presence and our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling, we feel abandoned, scared, and helpless. We grasp for the familiar.” The Bible says, “The Lord is good…He cares for those who trust in him.” Nancy Ortberg says: “The difficult parts of change are most often where God lives…All the things I glibly say, in change I have to live out…Most of us go kicking and screaming instead of moving into it with an assuredness that not only is God on the other side, but new facets of Him that we haven’t heretofore understood are also there. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, a job loss, a move across the country, becoming an empty nester – if we allow ourselves to push through the difficult parts we’ll discover God is there…and He’s entirely, wonderfully, amazingly, good.” When God closes one door, He opens another – but you must be willing to walk through it.

Soul food: Ezek 37:1-40:9; Mat 18:1-9; Ps 73:17-28; Prov 15:22-24

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Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

Forgive – and set yourself free

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV

Years after her harrowing experience in a Nazi concentration camp, Corrie ten Boom was speaking in a church when she found herself standing face-to-face with a man who had been one of the cruellest guards she had ever met in the camps. This man had humiliated and degraded both her and her sister, jeering at them and visually “raping” them as they stood in the delousing shower. Now he stood before her with an outstretched hand, asking, “Will you forgive me?” Corrie said, “I stood there with coldness clutching at my heart, but I knew that the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. I prayed, ‘Jesus, help me!’ Woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me, and when I did I experienced an incredible thing. The current started in my shoulder, raced down into my arm, and sprang into our clutched hands. Then this warm reconciliation seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. ‘I forgive you, brother,’ I cried with my whole heart. For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I have never known the love of God as intensely as I did in that moment.” The Bible says, “Be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Who are you struggling to forgive today? Rise above your feelings and do it! When you do, you will set yourself free and be able to walk in the peace and joy of the Lord.

Soul food: Ezek 34-36; Mat 17:14-27; Ps 73:1-16; Prov 15:18-21

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Luke 24:16 TM

Today God is with you

Luke 24:16 TM

When you face a crisis it’s easy to lose perspective. It happened to two of Christ’s disciples on the Emmaus Road. Discouraged about His death, they were “going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their…questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was” (vv. 14-16 TM). When you take your eyes off Jesus, you start to feel helpless about your situation. Dr. Michael Youssef says: “Facing a major crisis, I tend to be the kind of person whose vision becomes blurred. My perceptions are shot. My contemplations are one-sided. I often shut out the very people who can deliver me, just like those two disciples… Their vision was blurred about the person who was walking with them and talking to them. The one whose death they were mourning was alive…but they didn’t realize it because their focus was on the wrong thing.” But everything changed the minute they recognized Jesus. “Within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There… the two…told…how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along…and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread” (vv. 33-35 NLT). Note the words “within the hour.” In an instant they went from fear to courage, pain to joy, and despair to hope. Paul wrote, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18 NIV). When you stop focusing on the problem and fix your eyes on Jesus, you get 20/20 vision and you’re filled with hope.

Soul food: Ezek 31-33; Mat 17:1-13; Ps 80:12-19; Prov 15:15-17

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1 Peter 1:19 NLT

“Precious blood – precious you!”

1 Peter 1:19 NLT

The Bible says, “The ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ” (vv. 18-19 NLT). You must come to a place in your life where you are secure in who you are “in Christ”; where you don’t allow your sense of worth to be based on the opinions or actions of others. Stop trying to find your worth in how you look, or in what you do for a living, or in how people treat you. Your worth in God’s eyes is incalculable because Jesus shed His blood for you. “Precious blood, precious you!” Yes, you have faults. Yes, there are things about you that need to be changed, but God is working on you just as He is on everybody else. Don’t let somebody else dump their issues on you. You’re a blood-bought child of God! Don’t allow them to make you feel worthless or useless because they don’t know how to treat you right, or love you as you deserve to be loved. Don’t spend your life trying to win their acceptance or approval. You’ve already been accepted and approved by God, so make sure your validation and sense of worth come from Him. You’re redeemed by Christ’s blood, covered by Christ’s blood, and accepted through Christ’s blood. And since His blood is “precious,” that makes you precious too! Satan, who’s called “the accuser,” would like you to forget that and see yourself only in the light of your flaws and failures. Instead, get up every morning, look in the mirror, and announce, “I am precious, because I have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus!”

Soul food: Ezek 27:25-30:26; Mat 16:13-28; Ps 80:1-11; Prov 15:11-14

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Exodus 39:14 NKJV

The beauty of the breastplate (1)

Exodus 39:14 NKJV

As you look at the breastplate worn by Israel’s high priest, you see how precious you are in God’s eyes as His redeemed child. The Bible gives us very detailed information about what the high priest wore, and there are no insignificant details in God’s Word. As we examine this breastplate we see something wonderful about the way the Lord sees us. There were twelve stones on it, each with the name of one of the twelve tribes. And since Jesus is our great High Priest, let’s look at this breastplate and see what we can learn. These were precious stones. God didn’t use common rocks and pebbles found in abundance in Israel; He chose the most costly, rare, and precious gems such as sapphire, topaz, emerald, amethyst, diamond, onyx, and jasper to represent us. Note the word precious. The Bible says you are “precious” in God’s sight (See Isaiah 43:4). It also says that you were redeemed with the “precious” blood of Jesus (See 1 Peter 1:19). How do you establish the value of something? By the price someone is willing to pay for it. So here’s a truth you must keep in mind when you have blown it and Satan is condemning you because of your sins and shortcomings. With full knowledge of all your sins – past, present, and future – God loves you so much that He sent His Son to redeem you by shedding His precious blood. And as long as you are trusting in Christ, your value in God’s eyes never diminishes. Why does God think you are precious? Because at all times He sees you “in Christ.”

Soul food: Ezek 22-23; Mat 15:29-39; Ps 132:11-18; Prov 15:5-7

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Proverbs 10:32 NIV

Radio Pulpit

Use words befitting a Christian

Proverbs 10:32 NIV

When George H. W. Bush was running for president of the United States in 1988, he admitted he’d made an inappropriate remark about American journalist Dan Rather and White House correspondent Lesley Stahl after an on-air confrontation. Bush referred to Rather in an unprintable term, and also took God’s name in vain in speaking about the Columbia Broadcasting System. When confronted, he said, “If I’d known the microphone was on I wouldn’t have taken the Lord’s name in vain, and I apologize for that.” The fact is, he shouldn’t have said it whether the tape was running or not. Remember, God’s t ape is always running! The Bible says, “A man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths” (Proverbs 5:21 NIV). Centuries ago Jesus declared: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:2-3 NIV). Take a moment and consider these two Scriptures: “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil” (Proverbs 15:28 NIV). “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.” The first Scripture tells you that a wise person will think before he or she speaks, because they realize every word has a consequence. The second Scripture tells you that a righteous person automatically knows what’s acceptable, and keeps in mind the fact that God hears every word.

Soul food: Ezek 20-21; Mat 15:15-28; Ps 132:1-10; Prov 15:1-4

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Proverbs 21:6 NIV

“To thine own self be true”

Proverbs 21:6 NIV

It’s easier to maintain your integrity than to regain it. It may cost you to do the right thing, but it will cost you more to abandon your principles. “Like a bird hatching an egg it did not lay, so are…people who get rich by cheating. When their lives are half finished, they will lose their riches. At the end…it will be clear they were fools” (Jeremiah 17:11 NCV). In 1994 golfer Davis Love called a one-stroke penalty on himself during the second round of the Western Open. He moved his marker out of the path of another player’s putting line; then later he couldn’t remember if he’d moved his ba ll back to its original spot. Since he wasn’t certain, he gave himself an extra stroke. And that one stroke caused him to be eliminated from the tournament. At year’s end Love was $590 short in winnings to automatically qualify for the Masters, and needed to win a tournament to get into one of golf’s most coveted events. Fortunately, the story ends well. The week before the big event he qualified by winning a tournament in New Orleans, and went on to earn $237,600 by finishing second in the 1995 Masters. Later, when asked how he’d have felt if he’d missed the Masters because of calling a penalty on himself, Love replied, “The question is how I’d have felt if I’d won and spent the rest of my life wondering if I’d cheated.” In the words of Shakespeare: “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Soul food: Ezek 16:53-19:14; Mat 15:1-14; Ps 48; Prov 14:33-35

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Isaiah 43:18-19 TM

Let go of your past

Isaiah 43:18-19 TM

Comedian Jerry Lewis joked that his best wedding gift was a film of the ceremony – because when things got really bad in his marriage he could go into a room by himself, run the film backwards, and walk out a free man! We smile, but you can’t go back and rewrite history any more than you can unscramble an egg. When you dwell on the past it’s always at the expense of the future, but when you learn from the past it has the potential to make your future better. Whenever you find yourself saying, “If I knew then what I know now,” remind yourself that unless you grow you’ll be saying the same thing ten or twenty years from now. You say, “If only I’d been willing to forgive my spouse instead of punishing them, maybe I could have kept my marriage together and built a great relationship.” Maybe you struggle with the memory of an abortion, wondering about the child who might have been and the joy he or she might have brought. Perhaps you’re a good person who did a bad thing and ended up with a felony record; now you’re saying, “If only…” Well, here’s what God says: (1) “Your sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name” (1John 2:12 TM). (2) “I…will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again” (Isaiah 43:25 NLT). (3) “Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history…I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?…I’m making a [way for you].” The word for you today is: Let go of your past.

Soul food: Ezek 14:1-16:52; Mat 14:22-36; Ps 1; Prov 14:29-32

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